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Risk Management 101: Risk Assessment and Prioritisation (#9 in the series Risk Management 101)
By Craig Brown

Prioritisation is a tool to communicate and agree on what risks are to be actioned most urgently. It sets expectations and allows for people to understand where a particular risk falls in the project’s workload.

If there is disagreements about priorities the likelihood and impacts can be revisited, and maybe a risk can be re-prioritised. This is likely in many projects as the uncertainty of the future diminishes and the likelihood of risk events occurring is better understood.

The diagram below is a typical tool for representing a project’s risks at a strategic level. You may identify several dozen risks and the number of risks (or the risk reference numbers) can be listed in the boxes representing each likelihood/impact assessment. This then gives an overview of the risk profile of the project. It also highlights which things are priorities to be dealt with.

Risk Grid

Risk Assessment Grid

Craig Brown has worked as a project manager and business analyst mainly in the Australian ITC and the banking industries. He has also worked in the law, education and welfare industries, including starting a law firm. Craig now has a Master’s degree in project management from RMIT university, and is currently working with a Melbourne based IT consulting firm called OptimiseIT. Craig’s personal blog can be found at http://www.betterprojects.net.

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